Since I haven’t done so yet, let’s talk about the weather in Brainerd for the month of May. Overall, below average temperatures and below average precipitation dominated the month. The jet stream remained in more of a late winter/early spring pattern for essentially the entire month, allowing cooler than usual – sometimes much cooler than usual – temperatures to flow in from Canada into Minnesota and northern Iowa. Along with this jet stream pattern, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico was allowed to flow in, causing rain to fall in copious amounts over much of Iowa and southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities. Moisture also funneled in from Canada, causing very large amounts of precipitation to fall in northern Minnesota. Although these two patterns soaked northern and southern Minnesota, even causing brief flooding, they did not bring very much precipitation at all for the central portion of the state. There will be more on just how much precipitation fell in Brainerd in May later.
All in all, May in Brainerd was 4.9°F below normal. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center had predicted for months, however, that May in Minnesota would be below average. The warmest maximum temperature in the month was 79°F, 13° above normal for the date, recorded during the only period of above average weather in the month, on the 9th. Overall, only 7 days in the month of May ended up averaging above average temperatures. The coldest maximum temperature was 43°F, 25° below normal for the date, recorded on the 13th of the month. The coldest minimum temperature in May was 25°F, recorded on the 1st and 3rd of the month. This temperature was 11° and 12° below the average for the date, respectively. The warmest minimum temperature was 54°F, 10° above average, on May 20th.
The low of 26°F on the 15th of the month tied the record low for that date, which had been set in 1959. Other than that, no other record highs or lows were recorded during the month, even though there were a quite a bit close calls on the record low end. This may seem strange considering how cold May was, but the primary component making May cooler than average was the daily high temperatures. Only 6 days in the entire month had a high temperature that was warmer than the average for the particular date.
Compared to the normal 3.33 inches of precipitation that Brainerd usually receives during the month of May, only 1.49 inches of it actually fell. This comes out to be about 45% of the normal amount of precipitation for the month. Even though it was cold enough to foster it during some portions of the month, Brainerd did not receive any snowfall in May. International Falls, on the other hand, did actually have measurable snowfall during the month. Incidentally, there’s an interesting question discussing snow in Minnesota on the “Ask a Meteorologist” feature of the Minnesota DNR’s website. Here it is:
Q. I am currently in debate with a coworker about the snowfall in Minnesota. Specifically, I say it has snowed in every month except July in the whole state. He said it has snowed in every month in the whole state. I can't find historical records on this and would appreciate any info.
A. As far as we have seen here at the State Climatologist Office, it has snowed in every month in Minnesota except July. There are multiple reports of snow in June, and a trace of snow fell at Duluth on August 31, 1949. Our records for really cool places like Tower and Embarrass do not go very far back in time, so who knows what may have fallen in the state and was not recorded.